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Sunday, June 10, 2012

          8:30AM masses during the week were Fr. Kevin's favorites.  They were quiet, reflective...and short.  The six or seven regulars seemed satisfied in their pews, responding to the prayers with volume and vigor, and not expecting, or desiring, any deep theological recourse at Homily time.   As Mrs. Martin played the recessional hymn on her kazoo, the organ long since broken, the contented padre strolled toward the exit door, as was his custom.

          He always enjoyed chatting with his parishioners after Mass, but today was Friday, and he had a singularly ulterior motive.  Upon arriving at Holy Family, he had quickly discovered that Friday was the optimum day for a breakfast "invite".  As the rectory employed no cook or housekeeper, he often relied on the generosity and goodwill of the local town's people.

         With fingers crossed, he wished for a breakfast bid from Mrs. Hoffman and her divine, always- light-as-a-feather, fresh, baked cinnamon rolls.  Second choice was certainly Mrs. DePere's quiche of the day, but the way in which her five cats always rubbed against his legs when he went  over there, gave him the "heebie jeebies".  "Oh well,"  he muttered to himself, "one shouldn't look a quiche horse in the mouth."  He would be quite content with either choice, and if all else failed, he could always pedal on over to the Starbucks for a Venti Mocha Java Latte, and a few of those cake on stick things.

         Before the final decision could be made, the calm of the June morning was broken by the shrill scream of an elderly woman, and a chorus of confusion at the chapel door.

        "Oh crap!" he swore. "I hope Mrs. Hoffman hasn't fallen down the church steps again.  It took six of us to lift her the last time, and she didn't bake for a month."  Fr. Kevin felt his chance for a breakfast retreat quickly fly out the window.

         By the time he made it to the door, and pushed through the crowd of gawking seniors, Kevin could only wish for something as minor as a missed step and lack of bakery.  For there in the church garden lay Marco, the very same surly gardner, a pair of pruning shears firmly lodged in his back, and a puddle of blood quickly spreading over the entire front lawn.  "Someone call 911!" he shouted.

         He ran down the steps to check on the wounded man, desperately trying to remember the prayers for the Sacrament of the Sick, not knowing for sure if Marco was even a Catholic.  As he took the bleeding man's limp wrist, he instantly realized that praying for his recovery would be a waste of time, and instead, began to pray for his departed soul.

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